RHS eliminated from WIAA playoffs
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
After trailing by only a touchdown at halftime Friday, the Rhinelander High School varsity football team gave up four second-half touchdowns and lost for Homecoming in Great Northern Conference action against Merrill, 41-21, at Mike Webster Stadium.
The Bluejays scored two first-quarter touchdowns with a 19-yard run by Hunter Hintze followed by a 27-yard pass from Zach Mootz to Josiah Nohr.
The Hodags got on the scoreboard with 1:27 left in the first quarter on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Logan Freund to Peyton Erikson. Joseph Schmitz added the extra point to cut the deficit to 14-7, which is also how the half ended after neither team scored in the second quarter.
Merrill did all the scoring in the third quarter with two more touchdowns with a 12-yard pass from Mootz to Nohr and then a 57-yard run by Nevada Laabs.
Each team scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 12 minutes. RHS’s Drake Martin ran into the end zone from 6 yards away before Freund connected with Brad Comer for a 78-yard scoring strike. The Bluejays added scoring runs of 43 yards by Mootz and 4 yards by Dominic Leistikow.
For the game, the Hodags tallied 257 yards of total offensive with 127 rushing yards and 130 yards passing. Martin led RHS on the ground with 102 yards rushing on 25 carries with a touchdown. Freund completed three of 16 passes for 130 yards with two touchdowns. Comer had a team-high two receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown.
The Hodags, who dropped to 0-4 in the GNC and 1-6 overall, have been eliminated from the WIAA playoffs with two regular-season games remaining. RHS next plays a conference game this coming Friday at Ashland before closing out the season at home October 13 against Lakeland Union High School.
Merrill 41, Hodags 21
Merrill 14 0 12 15 – 41
Hodags 7 0 0 14 – 21